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US Air Force bombs 85 targets of Iranian militias in Syria and Iraq, killing at least 39 militants

Biden: ‘We don’t seek conflict but will respond to those who seek to do us harm’

US fighter jet taking off to strike Iranian militia targets (Photo: Screenshot/US CENTCOM)

In response to the killing of three U.S. servicemen almost a week ago, the U.S. military struck 85 targets in Syria and Iraq, U.S. President Joe Biden announced on Saturday.

“Today, at my direction, U.S. military forces struck targets in Iraq and Syria that the IRGC and affiliated militia use to attack U.S. forces,” Biden wrote on 𝕏.

“We do not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But to all those who seek to do us harm: We will respond.”

According to the Pentagon, seven locations were attacked, four being in Syria and three in Iraq, all of them known to be used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and their local proxies.

Iraq's Popular Mobilisation Forces, an Iranian proxy force, confirmed the strikes killed 16 of its members, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 23 people were killed in Syria, bringing the total number to 39.

Targets included command and control centers, intelligence centers, rockets, and missile and drone storage facilities in use by local militias in the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella organization backed by Iran.

U.S. National Security Spokesman John Kirby said that secondary explosions were reported in several locations, hinting that weapons storages were hit.

Among the aircraft used in the bombing raids were heavy long-range B1 bombers launched from the U.S., said Lt.-Gen. Douglas Sims, Joint Staff Director for Operations.

The B1s flew in a “single non-stop flight” from the U.S. mainland, “all of that enhanced by our Transportation Command and our ability to gas and go along the way.”

According to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, this was only the first wave of a larger U.S. response to the killing of three servicemen by an Iranian-backed militia in a drone attack last Sunday.

“This is the start of our response. The President has directed additional actions to hold the IRGC and affiliated militias accountable for their attacks on U.S. and Coalition Forces. These will unfold at times and places of our choosing,” Austin said in a statement.

The Iranian regime, whose IRGC is responsible for sponsoring, arming and training multiple militias throughout the Middle East including the one that killed the U.S. servicemen, decried the American attacks, accusing the U.S. of trying to draw away attention from “Israeli war crimes in Gaza.”

“Iran considers the attacks as a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, international law, and a clear violation of the United Nations Charter,” according to an Iranian foreign ministry statement.

It called the attack “an adventurous action and another strategic mistake by the US government, which will have no result other than intensifying tension and instability in the region.”

Russia agreed with Iran, saying that the strikes were increasing the chaos in the Middle East and calling an urgent meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

“(The US) launched a blatant air aggression against a number of sites and towns in the eastern region of Syria, and near the Syrian-Iraqi border, which led to the martyrdom of a number of civilians and soldiers, the injury of others, and the infliction of significant damage to public and private property,” the Syrian Ministry of Defense claimed in a statement.

Iraqi officials also claimed that civilians were killed and protested the attacks as a “violation of Iraqi sovereignty,” coming at a time “when Iraq is striving hard to ensure the stability of the region.”

At the time of publication, Israeli officials had not yet commented on the strikes that were carried out during the Jewish Sabbath.

America's European allies were mostly supportive in statements regarding the strikes.

“The UK and US are steadfast allies. We wouldn’t comment on their operations, but we support their right to respond to attacks,” a British government spokesperson said in a statement, adding, “We have long condemned Iran’s destabilizing activity throughout the region.”

Anna Lührmann, Minister of State for Europe at the German Foreign Office called the attacks against U.S. bases in the region “irresponsible,” saying that the American strikes were intended to prevent a repetition of such events.

When asked about the U.S. attacks, Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski quipped: “Iran’s proxies have played with fire for months and years, and it’s now burning them.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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